Overwhelming TBR List! (updated July 4, 2016)

You know how your eyes can be be bigger than your stomach? I get like that with books. I have so many on my to-be-read list that I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, not sure where to start. And there’s a difference between my list of TBR on Goodreads, which includes books I don’t yet have in my possession, and the ones I have available to me now. So I’m going to list them alphabetically (by title), and by location, and make a start…

On my Kindle (app):

Aftereffects: Zombie Therapy (From the Case Files of Dr. Victor Frenzel, Zombie Psychiatrist), by Zane Bradey – DONE!
And That’s Why I’m Single, by Josh Stern – DONE!
The Aristotelian, by Steve Poling – DONE!
As the Witch Turns (An All About Women Short Story), by Anne M. Cinarpenter – DONE!
Audrey’s Guide for Witchcraft, by Jody Gehrsan – DONE!
Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, edited by Rayne Hall – DONE!
Caledonii: Birth of a Celtic Nation, by Ian Hall DONE!
Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost (Book 1), by Ron Vitale DONE!
Crow’s Hill: The Dark Seeds, by L. M. Fields
Curious Hearts, with James M. Cricket, Walt Trizna, T.D. Jones, Jane Carver, Ellen Margret, Nell Duvall, and Jenny Twist
Dark Inside, by Donna Galanti
Dead Rich, by T. H. Rahman
Eleven Town, by John-Paul Cleary
The Eleventh Universe, by Jim Fostino
Entanglement, by Dan Rix
Faeries Forever, by Ellen Margret
The Girl from Yesterday, by David L. Dawson
Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales for Adults, by Jack Eason
Hearts in Exile, by Mysti Parker DONE!
Hellbound, by Su Halfwerk
I am GooGol, by Bobby Nash and Rodrigo de Castro — DONE!
Journey to Rome, by L.K. Killian
Labyrinthine, by Ruby
Life in Mental Chains: My terrifying journey with OCD, by Ruth J. Hartman
Lightpoints, by Peter Kassan – DONE!
The Last Mailman: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Zombies, by Kevin J. Burke
Level Zero, by Jaron Lee Knuth
Lonely Moon, by Andrew Saxsma
Mercy, by Jay R.
Midnight’s Jewel, by J. Annas Walker
My Only One, by Gregory M. Thompson
The Noble Fool (Vol. 1 of The Hungering Saga), by Heath Pfaff

The Owl Goddess, by Jenny Twist — DONE!
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, by Paulette Mahurin
Plague Nation, by Dana Fredsti – DONE!
The Prelude (The Musical Interlude #1), by KaSonndra Leigh – DONE!
The Rebel Trilogy by F. H. Prohor – DONE!
Rescued by a Duke, by Ruth J. Hartman
Risking Everything: Coming Out in Coffee Land, by Elizabeth Worley
The Seventh Age, by Jack Eason
The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo: And the Newly Discovered Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Holy Ghost Writer
Take One at Bedtime, by Jenny Twist –in progress
Taxicab Stands of Kirkland Lake, by Scott Hough – in progress
Through the Door, by Jodi McIsaac – DONE!

TransShifter, by Cindy Borgne
The Twelve Dancing Zombie-Killing Princesses, by Cate Masters
The Vampire Bible, by William Meikle
When Women Were Warriors (Book 1: The Warrior’s Path), by Catherine M. Wilson
Witches Bureau of Investigation, by Richard Capwell
Witch Eyes, by Scott Tracey

On my Kobo:*

Clockwise, by Elle Strauss –
Llewellyn’s 2013 Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living
The Thirteenth Unicorn, by W. D. Newman
The Witching Pen (Book One of The Witching Pen Novellas), by Dianna Hardy

*Not counting 57 PREVIEWS!

Print Copies*:

Assholes: A Theoryin progress

Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies, by Victoria Dunne — DONE!

Be Blessed: Daily Devotions for Busy Wiccans and Pagans, by Denise Dumars
Coffee in the Morning, by Roz Denny Fox

Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Garriger — DONE!
Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales From Around the World by Kathleen Ragan
The Girlfriend Curse, by Valerie Frankel
Hannah: Daughters of the Sea, by Kathryn Lasky – DONE!
The King’s Daughter, by Barbara Kyle
A Human Element, by Donna Galanti – DONE!
Much Ado About Marriage, by Karen Hawkins
Need, by Carrie Jones
Super-parenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach for Raising Your Distracted Child, by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and Peter S. Jensen, M.D.

A Time for Everything, by Mysti Parker – DONE!
UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities by John B. Alexander, Ph.D.
A Vintage Affair, by Isabel Wolff

The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe — DONE!
A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life, by Marian Singer – in progress

*I’ve accumulated more print copies of books since I first compiled this list, of course, so I’ll add them as I read them.😀

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I’ll post reviews on Goodreads, etc. as I complete them, of course. And if anyone has read these as well, please comment below — I’d love to know what you thought of them!

The question bothering me now is — how long will it take me to read all of these fabulous writings? Hmmm…

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Book Review: The Owl Goddess, by Jenny Twist

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I am massively overdue on this review of this fantastic novel, Jenny Twist’s opus, and so please accept my apologies for the tardiness of this post.

I had the extreme pleasure of acting as a beta reader for this work, and I loved every part of it. Twist has combined fascinating storytelling and historical research in an original, beautiful mix; she has captured the voice of her adolescent protagonist Athena with deft precision, making the girl-becoming-woman utterly relatable both to adults and young readers, and leads us through her characters’ discoveries and coming-of-age moments with compassion and thoughtfulness of detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of the novel, in which the crew and passengers of the Atlantis, an interplanetary vessel of advanced technology, must evacuate and land on an unexplored, primitive world when their engine malfunctions. To their surprise, the world is inhabited by beings whose appearance mirrors their own in many ways, though distinctly lacking in complex technology. Twist weaves a tale of future history in The Owl Goddess, blending the myths of Mount Olympus and its inhabitants with speculative science fiction in a manner that would do the writers of Doctor Who or Star Trek proud. And there is more than science in this fiction — Twist also involves more than a little magic, evoking a terrestrial and spiritual voice in the figure of a goddess whose beneficence is not wholly clear.

I think about this story, and I wonder — can you ever really trust a goddess? Athena is taken for granted as greater-than-human by her friend Prometheus and his community, despite her reassurances that she is nothing more than flesh and blood, while the motivations of the Mother spirit who watches over that community are only ever apparent to the entity herself. Goddesses are mysteries to those who encounter them, and so they must be, in order to remain separate and above, but it’s not always of benefit to their worshippers. Athena has her innocence to save her from criticism, fortunately.

The Owl Goddess will lead interested readers to fitting character studies and encourage further reading of Greek myths and fables. I also found myself more drawn to articles on developing technologies after finishing the novel, because the world Athena comes from had turned to lab-grown meat and firm social rules about residences and breeding to deal with overpopulation. These are issues and experiments being carried out right now, and again, Twist has paid attention and done her research.

In conclusion, Jenny Twist’s most recent work, The Owl Goddess, is absolutely stunning in its breadth and scope. I found it a quick read, reminiscent in ways of Clan of the Cave Bear but not nearly as ponderous. I would dearly love to see it illustrated as a graphic novel.

Buy Link:  Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

 

Vote for me! New writing contest + Rip Gone Wrong

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Interesting how once my goal of writing a blog post every day was over, I end up neglecting the blog completely for months . . . But it’s not for lack of things being done! I’ve coordinated the second annual 24 Hour Playwriting Challenge, directed and produced a short play for a theatre festival (complete with field trip), put together my first ever author booth at the Northern Ontario Expo, and organized 47 students, two children, and four other adults for the field trip to Ottawa ComicCon a few weeks ago (cosplay included). And now I’m into rehearsals and memorizing lines for my role of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, this year’s Shakespeare in the Park performance. Plus frequent workouts in my goal to get fit and be able to do a chin-up before I’m forty. Happy to report that I’m now in the best shape of my life!

But in the middle of all of this, I have missed writing. And I haven’t submitted anything new.

So I decided to take a leap and accept a twitter-sent invitation to submit a story for a writing contest on Inkitt. I’d love it if you’d click the link, read Rip Gone Wrong, the YA action/adventure/thriller that I wrote for my reluctant readers last spring during Camp NaNoWriMo, and cast your vote for my story.

And leave me some feedback, please, here or on the site! Constructive comments are welcome and appreciated.

Help me win ’s novel contest – please read my story and cast your vote today!

Mist and Midnight now in PAPERBACK!

I’m so pleased to announce that my first published work, the short novel Mist and Midnight (prequel to the Talbot Trilogy) is now available in print!

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Complete your bookshelf set of the Talbot Trilogy today!

 

Loving the results! 8 weeks into personal training . . .

I am so happy, I wanted to share with you the positives and general fabulousness of this moment.

I am stronger, in more ways than one. I feel terrific. I’m starting to fit back into clothes I’d given up on ever wearing again, and I’m going to spend some of my spring break taking in the pieces I bought this past fall.

I mean, look at the difference:

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Another weigh-in this Saturday, and measurement, and then I think I will sign up for another session with my trainer. I have momentum and I want to keep going. I think this might be the healthiest I’ve been in a really long time.

But you know, part of the struggle in this has been with avoiding feelings of selfishness. I’ve redirected funds that realistically ought to have gone into the student loans I’m still paying off. Or into something for the house, or the car. Or the kids. So many different things that need doing. However, I realized partway through this that as much as I have to meet those obligations (and I am, slower than I originally planned), by going to the gym and getting a trainer, I’m investing in me. In my future. I spent most of my pre-teens and teen years and a lot of my twenties and thirties being a couch potato. That sedentary lifestyle is going to bite me in my formerly spreading arse in another five to ten years if I don’t make up for it now. So that’s what I’m doing. And yes, I know I’ve posted about this before, made efforts to get healthier and more active, done Weight Watchers, etc. I’ve learned that healthy means maintenance. I’ve also learned that it gets easier as the kids get older and more capable of looking after themselves.

And I’ve discovered that I really love going to the gym. Me, the kid who hated sweating and feeing out of breath and avoided physical activity at all costs. I love challenging my levels on the elliptical, and I feel empowered by the circuit training. As much as I feel guilty for not dedicating the money toward my loans (in the fall, I’d promised myself I would get the damned things paid off in a year – sigh), I’m worth this. All of it.

After all, we only get one chance at life, at least that we remember.

Book Review: Through the Door (The Thin Veil #1) by Jodi McIsaac

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading this wonderful book. I was delighted that it had a Canadian setting (personal bias!), and I enjoyed the prose and the imagery.

And then it got into the magic, the Tuatha de Dannan, and I was hooked into the adventure. Moreover, an adventure undertaken by a mother, a woman with responsibilities and purpose. Loved that. Plus, magic!

This novel is a gift. It’s truly remarkable, bringing readers on a slow burn up one side of a mountain and then over a rainbow. I loved the unexpected plot twists — some of which I saw coming, and was not disappointed, and others that came out of nowhere and were equally delightful — and wished there was more time given to get to know the cast of characters beyond the major players. I felt a lot of connection between this tale and the world of Lost Girl (Showcase), as well, and one of my favourite movies, Willow.

I’ll be adding the next books to my Kindle at the next opening in my credit card.

Book Review: A Time for Everything, by Mysti Parker

I’m reading again! Not that I ever really stopped, but the last year or two I’ve really struggled to pick up actual novels and lose myself in them. Lots of reasons why that could be. But since I’ve been going to the gym regularly (save those two weeks with the flu in my system), I’ve started up on some long-awaited books while on the elliptical. Didn’t get very far with the print, because I couldn’t keep the damned thing open, but I’ve been carrying A Time for Everything around with me for weeks in order to continue with the story. That meant going into another book on my Kindle, which is a little easier to prop up since it’s in my iPhone, so a review of that one will come along when I finish it.

But on to this review . . .

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I received an autographed copy of this moving, well-written romance novel from the author in the late summer, and it’s bothered me a lot that it’s taken me so long to get to it. Heck, I feel guilty about ALL the books I’ve been collecting and putting off reading. So it was great to just dive into it last night and read it through today — more than great, highly satisfying. Here’s what I’ve posted on Goodreads as my collection of thoughts on the book:

Once again, Mysti Parker has spun a tale that I simply could not put down. The details speak to her thorough research of the American Civil War and Reconstruction years in the South, and characters are complex, very human individuals. It puts me in mind of Gone With the Wind not only for the setting, but for the tangled situations the strong-willed, damaged characters Portia, Beau, Harry, Jonny, etc. are experiencing. Parker writes with clarity and heart, refusing to shy away from the relative harshness of life as experienced by war survivors and freed slaves in the mid-19th century for the sake of the romance. The fact that there are characters representing nearly all perspectives and elements of the 1860s Southern economy — negative and positive — again reveals the careful thought and reflection put into this book. Coupled with a well-developed plot that brought tears to my eyes as often as it made me laugh or shout in triumph on behalf of the protagonists, A Time for Everything is a highly satisfying read.

When I was a teenager, I was privileged to be able to visit Gettysburg as part of a field trip put together by my school’s History and Humanities department — I think it was actually built into the American History course I was taking at the time. I’d been fascinated by the American Civil War ever since picking up my copy of GWTW while on a visit to my grandmother Helen. It was an entirely different world, almost alien to my experiences at the time and even now, and yet there are still so many ways that we in the present can connect with the events and trials of the past. Antebellum, conflict, and Reconstruction — all left a mark on our neighbours to the south that continues to affect them today. I think we can understand much of American culture through well-researched, focused fiction like A Time for Everything as much as through studying primary source documents. And indeed, we should, because historical fiction represents the struggle of modern minds to understand the people past, place them and their decisions in context, and apply the learnings to the present and the future.

And now, I’m going to issue a challenge to you, Mysti Parker! Would you be able to apply your skills of interpretation and research to the American Revolution to craft another novel such as this?

Week Two of my Personal Training Journey

I am craving chocolate in the worst way, and I was so lazy today . . . I’ve gotten more used to my meal plan, though some habits are definitely harder to break than others. It’s easier to follow than Weight Watchers, but I struggle to drink a full two litres of water a day, and I need to have more protein in the mornings. Peanut butter alone isn’t cutting it. I’ll have to build my egg skills. The thing is, I mainly have peanut butter on toast because it’s easy, and warm. Cold breakfast (refrigerated boiled eggs, cereal) turns me right off, even though I know I should be grateful just to have food. Anyway . . .

I bought myself a health tracker, the Bellabeat Leaf.  

 
I’m enjoying it, so far, although it’s not as sensitive at times as I know a Fitbit might be. Still, it’s telling me how I sleep (restlessly, aparently), and how many calories I use, acts as a pedometer, and that’s helping me stay motivated. 

   
    
  
   
Sadly, today my activity level was practically nil. I was tired. Did a lot of knitting and not a lot of anything else. Wondering whether my period is coming . . . Would explain my snappishness, chocolate cravings (thank goodness for the chocolate-flavoured herbal tea my dear Tara Hall sent me!), and the onset of exhaustion today. 

  
I will be strong, to be stronger and healthier. I may have two packages of chocolate in my knitting bag, but they will remain unopened until I finish the mermaid blanket, and even then, I will only eat one of each! 

  
(Hey, look at that! Only 15 inches to go and I can start decreasing rounds!)

So, that’s this weekend over, and January done. Got a list of calls to make and appointments to start scheduling for this and that, a new class to plan and prep for tomorrow, plus the remaining marking and report card comments and grades to complete by Wednesday. Also posters and add for this month’s fundraisers and arts events. 

Maybe it was good that I was lazy today.